HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. Genesis 16:9
Poor Hagar! No wonder that she fled. Her proud Arab independence and the sense of coming motherhood made her rebel against Sarah’s hard dealings. We have often meditated flight if we have not actually fled from intolerable conditions. Of course, when God opens the door out of a dungeon we need not hesitate, as Peter did, to rise and follow. But this is very different to flight from the post of duty.
- For Hagar, Sarah;
- for Hannah, Penninah;
- for David, Joab;
- for Jesus, Judas;
- for Paul, Alexander the coppersmith.
Life assumes hard and forbidding aspects. Sometimes the cross is not a person, but a trial, the pressure of a slow and lingering disease; the demand for grinding and persistent toil; the weight of overmastering anxiety for those dearer than life, who have no knowledge of God.
Our Demeanor. Return and submit. We are apt to suppose that we shall get rest and peace elsewhere. It is not so, however. Nowhere else shall we find the path less rugged, or the pillow less hard. To evade the yoke will not give us heartsease. The Master’s advice is that we shall take His yoke, and bear it as He did; remain where God has put us, till He shows us another place; and bear what He ordains and permits, even though it comes through the means of others. BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.
Our Faith. We cannot patiently submit to our lot unless we believe that what God permits is as much His will as what He appoints. Behind Sarah’s hard dealings we must behold His permissive providence. Through all the discipline of life, we must believe that God has a purpose of unfailing love and wisdom. Then our submission is not ¹stoicism, but loving ²acquiescence in our Father’s will.
The new thing with believers is the failure to be submissive to their Father. However, we are quick to submit to the things that are wrong in the sight of God except to the word of God. For all of this God is going to bring us into judgement and we will have to answer to the only Judge.
¹ the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.
² the reluctant acceptance of something without protest. “in silent acquiescence, she rose to her feet”